Sean McDermott calls critics 'narrow-minded' who say Bills have not been successful during Josh Allen era



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How you measure success in the NFL is not black and white. While some fan bases would be thrilled just to make the playoffs, others say it is Super Bowl or bust. 

For years, the Buffalo Bills have had high expectations heading into the season, but have yet to make a Super Bowl in the Josh Allen era. A team with so much talent should have at least one championship appearance, so does their failure to reach the big game mean they have not been successful? It depends on who you ask. 

The Bills have been AFC East champions for the last four years, but have only made it to the divisional round the last three years, losing in that round on each occasion. The farthest they have gone since Sean McDermott became the head coach in 2017 is the conference championship, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs during the 2020 season.

While the team has improved under McDermott and Allen, the Bills have not achieved the ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. McDermott says it is not accurate to say his team or his quarterback have not been successful.

“To say we haven’t had success or Josh hasn’t had success, I think would be kind of narrow-minded,” the head coach said (via NFL.com). “It’s hard to win in the NFL, so you kind of regroup every year, and you take it one game at a time. But we’re all looking for Josh to really be that face of the franchise, like he’s been, and continuing to evolve, like he’s always done.”

Last year, the Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey in the middle of the season after struggles on that side of the ball. Buffalo, who were among Super Bowl favorites heading into the 2023 season, found themselves in a scenario where they could be eliminated from the playoffs in Week 18.

They managed to beat the Dolphins and secure the division under interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady, but their midseason play still raised questions on whether they were who everyone thought they would be heading into the season.

McDermott reflected on the firing, complimenting his team on how it bounced back from those struggles.

“It wasn’t a surprise. Those moves, those staff changes are always tough, they’re not fun in any way, shape or form, but I was not surprised by how our team responded, I wasn’t,” McDermott said Sunday at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando, Florida. And so I think it says a lot about the character of the people in our building, and again a successful season, to be able to regroup and get done what we got done.

He feels the Bills should already be labeled as being successful, they just have to get the final pieces together.

“I think like anything, when you talk about the Bills, whether it’s Josh [Allen], myself, our team, we’ve had so much success,” McDermott said. “What’s left for Josh and for all of us is to take that one more step that we need to take.”

Looking ahead, McDermott says the goal is still to win it all, something the Bills have not done in franchise history.

“But we’re all still with one eye on the world championship, that’s what drives us every morning when we get up,” McDermott said. 

There are many reasons the Bills have failed to reach it to the biggest stage in football, but a lot of the blame has circulated around Allen, who has had issues with giving the ball away. The former No. 7 overall pick had the second-most interceptions in the league last season with 18. 

The Bills will look to make a Super Bowl run this year and if they are going to make it, they’ll need consistency throughout the season, fewer picks from Allen and will have to dethrone the back-to-back Super Bowl champion Chiefs. 

The team does not have all its old pieces coming back, as a lack of cap space saw the exit of Gabe Davis, Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer and others. McDermott still has high hopes for his team, despite the changes.

“Every year you start anew, and you keep that first game in front of you and that’s what you focus on. People want to say this and that, but every year is different,” McDermott said. “We’ve had to make a lot of changes to get underneath the cap, let’s just start there. So with our roster right now, we’re a work in progress, and we’ll see where we get to, but the most important thing is that everyone understands their roles and embraces their roles.”

The Bills’ last Super Bowl appearance was in 1993, a game that capped off four straight championship losses for the team. 





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